In one more transfer to strengthen tenant protections, the Antioch Metropolis Council this week accredited a brand new algorithm to make sure in opposition to landlord retaliation and harassment.
The motion got here after greater than a yr of tenants and supporters advocating for assist and after the council thought-about a draft evaluate and later accredited a primary studying of revised ordinance in July. That model, nevertheless, superior with adjustments on its second studying with Councilwoman Monica Wilson absent, Councilman Mike Barbanica recusing himself and Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock dissenting, requiring it to return for a primary studying.
On Tuesday, although, after listening to greater than two hours of public feedback and dialogue, the Metropolis Council voted 3-to-1 to approve the most recent model of guidelines, with Ogorchock dissenting and Barbanica once more recusing himself.
“This laws that we’re voting on in the present day will not be the very same one because it was a couple of weeks in the past,” Thorpe mentioned. “…The implication right here is in regards to the landlord’s intent by way of unhealthy religion. Nobody goes to jail underneath this laws. There isn’t a provision for jail time. … There isn’t a presumption of guilt on this laws. Completely not. Now we have fastened that…
“That is in regards to the landlord’s intent if it’s in unhealthy religion, which by the way in which, is on the tenant to show that,” he added.
Metropolis Legal professional Thomas Lloyd Smith mentioned the brand new guidelines will tackle landlord threats of hire will increase when tenants request repairs, improper landlord towing of autos, landlord verbal abuse and psychological hurt whereas defending tenants’ rights to prepare and requiring notices be given in a tenant’s spoken language.
And, though state regulation prohibits harassment of tenants with the intent to get them to depart their residence, the town’s proposed anti-harassment rule goes additional addressing dangerous landlord actions completed in “unhealthy religion” or for a purpose that’s troublesome to show.
“Upset we’ve to do that once more, however the silver lining is that we are able to make a beautiful ordinance much more fantastic tonight,” proponent Ethan Silverstein, a tenant advocate and legal professional with ACCE Institute, instructed the council.
Silverstein urged the council to strike out a provision excluding senior residential residence care services, saying it’s discriminatory.
“We shouldn’t be within the follow of claiming, ‘This regulation applies to everybody besides sure aged individuals,’ and sure aged individuals who possibly obtain well being care remedy, which might have some incapacity implications.”
The correct to interchange a tenant when one strikes out additionally has been misunderstood, Silverstein mentioned. He famous that it’s already been on the books for a yr as a part of the hire stabilization guidelines and urged that or not it’s retained.
“It has nothing to do with a landlord and their proper to decide on the tenants who transfer right into a vacant unit,” he mentioned. “What it does need to do with is in case you have three tenants in a single unit, one leaves the tenant has a proper to convey one again in.”
Legal professional Rhovy Lyn Antonio of the California Residence Affiliation, although, mentioned that each one of her objections heard over the previous month nonetheless stand.
“The CAA continues to take the place that this ordinance will not be mandatory as it’s duplicative of present legal guidelines that already present sturdy protections for renters in opposition to retaliation, discrimination and harassment,” she mentioned.
Her group’s objections included a provision that provides nonresidents, reminiscent of tenant advocates, the correct to entry to a property to prepare.
“The town would haven’t any management to curb or dictate the conduct of how these teams or people would behave after they’re on the property or throughout their interplay with every other residents or condo workers,” she mentioned.
Antonio additionally requested that right here isn’t any language within the ordinance about jail time for many who don’t comply.
Thirty residents, tenant advocates and landlords additionally spoke, some asking for extra readability within the ordinance’s language, others sharing tales about being harassed or retaliated in opposition to.
“This can be a very essential piece of coverage that all of us want locally,” Devin Williams, an ACCE Motion neighborhood organizer, mentioned.
Williams additionally had phrases for the handful of small landlords who confirmed as much as oppose the proposal.
“To the small landlords that come right here, your combat will not be with the tenants,” he mentioned. “It’s not with us who’re organizing. Your combat is with the hedge funds, the companies that make you guys look unhealthy and scare you guys into submission to the CAA.”
Soli Alpert of the Berkeley Hire Stabilization Board mentioned Berkeley has an identical regulation.
“It could shock you to know the sky didn’t fall,” he mentioned. “We aren’t carting landlords off to jail in huge numbers, and hordes of tenant organizers and aren’t storming each constructing within the metropolis of Berkeley. What this ordinance will do is present safety for people who find themselves organizing.”
One landlord requested why embrace seniors when they’re already protected by federal legal guidelines.
One other landlord complained that if the town makes it laborious for them, they may go away, which means much less housing.
Throughout the council dialogue that adopted, Torres-Walker mentioned she would have most well-liked that the CAA would have inspired company landlords, slightly than small property house owners, to return communicate to the council.
“All these persons are on trip proper now, whereas small landlords who’re additionally hardworking – and will not even be impacted by this ordinance –have been dragged to this assembly,” she mentioned.
Ogorchock mentioned she agreed with the ordinance, “however there must be some adjustments,” noting single-family residences and senior care properties needs to be excluded.
“The exemption means the next leases are exempt from restrictions and necessities of this chapter,” she mentioned. “They’re protected, the seniors are protected. We added that in right here to guarantee that the senior rental items and hospital expert nursing services, senior residential residence care services or well being services, these don’t apply to them.”
Thorpe requested for clarification of language, so landlords aren’t penalized for towing a automobile if the proprietor has violated a regulation. He additionally requested that the ordinance be worded so nobody misunderstands that the town isn’t forcing landlords to open their property to tenant organizers but when tenants host them, they need to be allowed.
However regarding the exclusion for seniors services, the mayor struck that out when he moved to approve the tenant protections, and viewers members cheered loudly in response as they left the assembly.